September 21, 2019

The Rise of the Instagram Gun Influencer

“When Kimberly Matte captions an Instagram post “suns out, guns out, buns out,” she mostly means it. The sun may be out, but she’s inside. Her buns are definitely out, because she’s wearing a lime-green thong. Technically, there’s only one gun out, but it’s an AR-10 battle rifle, so she’s still overdelivering.

Matte has more than 84,000 followers on Instagram and recently founded her own social media marketing and modeling agency. She grew up in Windsor, Ontario, one of seven children — a fan of skateboarding, dirt-biking, four-wheeling, soccer, and tree forts, and not of guns. The first time she held a shotgun, she was a kid, “65 pounds soaking wet.” Her dad and brothers thought it would be funny to let her shoot it. “They didn’t tell me it was going to basically rip my shoulder off,” she says. “I was like, I’m never touching a gun again.”

But then three years ago, she moved to Michigan to be with her American husband, who’d recently retired from the military. Now they shoot guns together, and arrange assault-weapon-centric lingerie photo sessions for Matte and her clients. She makes good money for her part, doing sponsored posts for brands both firearm-related and not — assault rifles one day, teeth-whitening treatments the next. For $100 and some free products, Matte will post a “selfie and shoutout” on her Instagram grid; she gets paid thousands of dollars per month for recurring endorsements.”

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